Giving to charity can enrich your life in unexpected ways - improving your health, inspiring others, strengthening communities, and more.
Giving to charity is about more than just helping those in need - it can also profoundly benefit the giver themselves. Research has uncovered some remarkable advantages to donating your time, money, or skills to a good cause. Here are five surprising benefits you may gain from charitable giving:
Fulfilling Personal Values
For many people, giving to charity is motivated by a sense of moral obligation and a desire to act on their beliefs. Donating to causes that align with your personal values allows you to live up to your ideals.
Studies show that acting in accordance with your values increases happiness and life satisfaction. Giving to charity can provide that feel-good boost of making the world a little better through your actions.
Making a Real Difference
It's easy to feel powerless in the face of global problems like poverty, hunger and disease. But charitable donations directly fund programs, services and research that improve lives every day.
You can see your money go to work building wells in developing countries, feeding the homeless in your community, or finding new cancer treatments. Donors get the satisfaction of knowing their contribution makes a concrete impact.
The benefits of giving extend beyond just the recipients - it's also remarkably good for your own physical and mental health.
Studies have found charitable activity reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Other health gains include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of dementia, and greater longevity.
Giving time to volunteer also provides physical benefits. Seniors who volunteer regularly are less likely to develop disabilities than non-volunteers.
When you give generously, it sets an example for others in your social circles and community. Your open-heartedness can motivate family, friends and neighbors to give more.
Some research indicates charitable giving is contagious - when we learn about others' generosity, we're more likely be generous ourselves. By publicly donating, you help create a culture of compassion.
Local charities support causes close to your heart. When you give to organizations in your community, you directly strengthen the place you call home.
Donating also shows gratitude to nonprofit groups that have helped you or your loved ones in the past. Supporting these charities recognizes their value and enables them to keep serving.
The next time you're deciding where to direct your donation dollars, consider giving to a cause that inspires you. The benefits you'll gain may be the best return on investment of all.